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Facebook Says “Privacy? Pffbt!”

Posted by on May 8, 2010

All the talk lately has been about Facebook, and with good reason. With just a few strokes and almost no real notification, Facebook has pretty much said none of us deserve privacy anymore.

Moments Of Privacy

Luckily, I was alerted to the first thing that they were going to do, which was releasing all of our information to their marketers. I even got a fix from one of my friends, which I posted as a comment, but now I’ll post here:

On the first one, go to your account. Under Privacy Settings for Applications, if you click there, you’ll see “Instant Personalization.” Unclick the box and you’re all set; supposedly.

At the time I thought that was that, but nope. The next thing I knew, I was on the site doing something else when this window pops up, telling me that I get to select which of my interests I want to link to some big pages that they were putting together. I didn’t think much about it, but selected two items and went about my business. It wasn’t until I read a post on a blog called Cre8pc Usability & Holistic SEO titled Facebook Removes Profile Choices (Kim must be big time; even Matt Cutts commented on this one lol) that I had to go back and see that indeed they had removed everything I had put onto that site 2 years ago that I said I liked except for the two I kept, one of which went to a fairly nonexistent page. That irked me so I went in and removed the other two, which wasn’t easy to figure out but I finally got it done.

At the same time they were doing that, they were creating community profiles for everyone to link to as well. I live in Liverpool NY, and they popped something up there for me, as well as where I went to college, the industries I listed on my business, where I went to school, etc. I only hooked up with one of those and canceled the rest, but to date at least they haven’t deleted any of my business information.

We might also end up having to watch out for some of our photos being used for purposes outside of our posting them just for our friends to see. That’s one of the rumors that’s going around, and based on everything else I’ve seen, I don’t doubt that could come. So, for those of you who have embarrassing images that you thought only your closest friends might ever see, you might want to think about whether you want to keep them on the site or not.

To say I’m disgruntled would be to minimize my feelings. To say I’m at the point that Dan of is at, which he expressed in his post titled Top Ten Reasons You Should Quit Facebook is would be overstating things a bit. At this point I still get more benefit out of Facebook than how much they’re irritating me, but it’s getting close to a point where it’ll be Sydney or the Bush (anyone who’s a long time Peanuts reader will understand that quote). The idea that we were all lured into something just to build up numbers so they could spring all of this on us bothers me, especially if it was always the plan. Facebook has almost turned into Google, since neither one believes that anyone should have any privacy whatsoever (I wonder if Sergey or or Larry will share their bank account numbers with me for a few days ), only Facebook got us to give it up voluntarily.

Although I’ve had some interesting conversations with my buddy Blog Bloke over his post Privacy and Security in a Social Media World, I have to admit that he’s got it right on many aspects of what’s going on now. Not that I ever thought he was totally wrong; after all, Google has shown that it has the power to segregate whomever they decide they don’t like for whatever reason they don’t like (such as taking away my page rank), which destroys the aura of links and activity being the only determinant as to how well a person’s website is doing on the internet. It’s really just more of a warning to us all that Pandora’s Box is open, and none of that stuff is ever going back in.

For his part in this, Zuckerberg had this to say at f8: “It really has no privacy implications. I think this means people will be sharing less information when they don’t need to around the Web.” As Dr. Phil would say, “did someone write the word ‘stupid’ on my forehead?”

Decide now if you want to be online or not; it may be the only way you keep even a modicum of privacy in your life, because trust me, there’s a lot of information on almost everyone online already, whether you did anything or not.

Meanwhile, if you want to take a shot at protecting your information, check out the video below; if you’d rather read, follow this link to the Electronic Frontier Foundation site.

By the way, remember that tomorrow is Mother’s Day!

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Hi Mitch,

I’m not so such what the big deal is with the “instant personalization”. As I see it, all it really does is allow sites that are using facebook connect to try to tailor their ads based on my interests.

This is along the same lines as when people got all upset about Google Adsense personalization. I didn’t see the problem with that either.

Bottom line, for me anyway, if a website is going to show me ads when I visit, why would I not want them to be about something I might actually be interested in?
.-= Todd´s last blog ..Angel Wings Scented Candle =-.

May 8th, 2010 | 11:07 AM

Hi Todd,

The big deal is that we didn’t have the initial choice as to whether we wanted our private information shared with anyone except people on Facebook or not. It’s like telling your friend something in confidence and finding out that not only did he tell others, but he broadcast it on TV. Now you’ll get all sorts of people looking at you and sending you stuff, even if it’s geared towards whatever it was you told your friend, but you’re still irritated by it.

For instance, people have to put in an email address to comment here. What if suddenly I, and everyone else who owns a blog, started selling those email addresses to advertisers? None of us would like that, I don’t believe.

May 8th, 2010 | 11:38 AM

Apparently the tried and true bait-and-switch scam is still alive and well on planet Facebook.

Seems to me when it comes to our private info they should not be allowed to change the TOS after we joined. That’s a legal contract as far as I’m concerned and someone should take them to task on that.

May 8th, 2010 | 7:40 PM

I was thinking the same way, BB, but where I think they get us is that there’s something in the contract that says they’re allowed to make changes without notice at any time and that we agree to it by signing up for the site. I think it’s disingenuous, but so be it.

May 9th, 2010 | 1:47 AM

Thanks for the heads up Mitch i have been so busy lately i have not taken much notice of facebook however i think facebook has become so big we need to realize these things will happen i do agree with you we should be informed it is us who build facebook.I am wondering it might worth checking out their privacy policy.
.-= lawmacs´s last blog ..How To Make Phone Calls From Your Computer =-.

May 9th, 2010 | 4:32 AM

Good deal Lawmacs; always glad to help keep everyone up to date.

May 9th, 2010 | 9:40 PM

Interetsing points Mitch.

“George Orwell 1984” seems to spring to mind. It seems that in this information age we live in FB seems to think it is acceptable to go down the route Google already has, add to that our UK and European political elite have been trying to do the same sort of thing for years.

It seems to me that we are entering a kind of robotic era where power goes to those who have the vehicle to be able to profile the behaviour habits of people.

And the worse thing is people are stupid enough to fall for it and give their personal info on a plate
.-= Peter Davies´s last blog ..Reasons Why Email Marketing is Better Than Print Advertising =-.

May 9th, 2010 | 4:13 PM

Exactly Peter. I didn’t put too much personal information on my FB page, just some likes, so I have no major issues. I just don’t like the way they did it; that seems disingenuous.

May 9th, 2010 | 9:44 PM
Brian D. Hawkins:

Hi Mitch, I almost skipped this post for two reasons. First, internet privacy is an illusion at best and second I felt I had my privacy and security settings on Facebook set.

I’m glad I took the time to read this post. I went through each step and was completely unaware of any of my settings. Now I’m going to go help my wife set hers up. Thanks for Just Sharing 🙂

August 21st, 2010 | 12:42 AM

That’s why I write this stuff, Brian! 😆 I’m glad I was able to help you out.

August 21st, 2010 | 12:53 AM